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Animal trainer charged for 1600-plant grow-op in Abbotsford

Gerry Therrien is pictured with a bear in this file photo. - File Photo
Gerry Therrien is pictured with a bear in this file photo.
— image credit: File Photo

An Abbotsford man who trains animals for the movie industry has been charged, along with two others, after a marijuana grow-op was allegedly found on his property in a barn that housed some of his creatures.

Gerry Therrien, 55, makes his first appearance in Abbotsford provincial court on May 9, along with his son Luc Therrien, 22 – a stunt performer and actor – and Houston Roach, 21. All three have been charged with production of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and fraudulently consuming electricity or gas.

A search of Therrien’s property on Matsqui Prairie was conducted in April 2010, but charges were not laid until recently.

Const. Ian MacDonald said police discovered almost 1,600 marijuana plants in three different areas in a three-storey outbuilding.

The main floor of the building contained exotic animals, as did other buildings on the property.

Therrien is the owner/operator of Action Animals, which trains animals for TV, films, music videos, advertising, live performances and corporate functions, according to its website.

His animals include tigers, bears, cougars, wolves and baboons. His website indicates he has worked with “some of the biggest names in the industry,” such as Steven Spielberg, John Travolta, Tom Hanks, and Will Smith.

Meanwhile, two men are facing charges related to an unrelated grow-op bust that took place last Friday in the 33400 block of Huntingdon Road.

Two houses and outbuildings were searched by police, and 600 plants were found in a barn.

Huntingdon Road between McCallum and Gladwin was blocked off to traffic. One man was taken into custody on the property, and a second was arrested when he drove up to the police roadblock.

MacDonald said the men were released on police documents and face charges of cultivation and possession for the purpose of trafficking. Their names have not yet been released.

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